Mommyhood . . .
I will tell you that the first three weeks were amazing! We were flying high and happy as can be. And then the plane crashed. Let me preface by saying we weren't entering parenthood with expectations of easy. We knew to enjoy those first few weeks! And the crash of the plane does not negate the love that we have for our daughter - nor does it diminish our faith in Jesus. I just want to share honestly what it's been like for us groping around in the dark - the blind leading the blind.
Kadence was the best sleeper. The first night she was home, she slept six hours. This continued on for a week or better. We figured that it would be a matter of time that we would have a few night wakings - which is really no big deal. We have stayed consistent with that routine ever since they started. She's tells us she's hungry, we feed her, change her diaper, swaddle her and she goes back to sleep. Sometimes she'll stir for a little while but never really fusses too much. She may have 2-4 wakings each night. No big deal, really.
Changes . . .
The daytime is much more difficult and has been since she was about 4 or 5 weeks old. Have you ever tied a cat up by it's hind legs and tried to skin it alive? Me neither - but you can imagine the noise that it would make, right? That's about what Kadence's screams are equivalent to - you wouldn't believe it unless you heard it yourself. It is truly unreal.
You see the sleepy eyes, the yawns, the eyes are closing but nope - not going down, not without a fight. And here is where the cat gets skinned (or skint, in the South). Usually she'll go for a good 20 or 30 minutes like this. Yes, I am sure you have all sorts of suggestions at this point and are questioning why I could let this go on. At this point, she is well-fed, well-burped, clean diaper and comfortable in every way possible - I have checked this over and over and now I can just hold her and try to soothe her. Most times she'll respond to some of Karp's 5 S's (Happiest Baby on the Block). She'll calm, but does she sleep? I guess you k(no)w the answer to that one.I can't help but feel like we have tried every method under the sun.
And this is where I attempt to explain the ramifications of sleep deprivation. Those wakings during the night are fine and well when one can take a nap during the day. You see, when you sleep at night, naps during the day let you clean, read and have down time. When no one sleeps well during the day or the night - well, that's when the issues rise. When you don't sleep, you don't reason well, your emotions are off-kilter, your nerves are frazzled and fried. It is a surreal, out of body experience. You can hear a voice talking and sometimes it takes a minute to realize that it's your own voice. And spiritually, the door is blown off the hinges for attacks. I will tell you now that our marriage over the past few weeks has been tested and by the grace of our Lord survived in Him alone. I have to say that my true self, stripped down and relying on myself alone is quite ugly and wretched.
The battle . . .
I guess it's confession time and I only pray that by my exposing myself will only allow the Lord to be glorified. Here I go . . .
There were days where I truly thought I could kill someone. I will say that I posed a serious threat to myself and others. I was poisonous with my words and my actions. I was like this big "flesh tank" taking down everyone in my path. There was a switch that went off inside of me - I just stopped caring. The words that Daniel and I exchanged were toxic. The things I told my daughter - fatal. I am beyond ashamed of that week. One night, while Kadence was (finally) asleep, we had another volatile exchange of words. He wasn't happy with whatever method we were trying to get her to sleep and I was trying to get him to give me another idea. He had none and more insults were exchanged. The exchange ended with a book flying at Daniel's head, leaving a cut across his nose and cheek. Not my proudest moment. I even went out to yell at him some more - but he had already stepped outside. What can I say? Wretched me.
That week, when I closed my eyes, the vision I had was my back against the Lord. Much of me just accepted it complacently - while there was this piece of me that was screaming to trust Him but I just couldn't figure out what that looked like at this point. That little voice was like Wiley Coyote smashed under the boulder - limbs hanging out, accordian-ed (not a real word, i know)body and all. Lies were being fed to me and I was believing them - half truths are still full lies. "You can't figure out your daughter's needs - what's wrong with you? You don't deserve this little girl. Maybe you should give her back. You're not bonded to her." Lies, lies, lies. . . and more lies. And I believed them. And even though the light has shone on them, I still fight them with Truth. It's a constant battle. One battle I believe that has been set up since my childhood, or at least middle school.
There is a darkness that wants to destroy your faith in the Lord. It is a very real battle. The Truth is the Gospel. Believing the half-truths or thinking Jesus plus _______ (fill in the blank for me it's a pity party) equals salvation - well, it perverts the Gospel. Truth is truth. It is not relative. Our God does not change - He is constant and unfailing - even when we fail. Failing is an opportunity for repentance, an opportunity for grace (as I am learning grace is a discipline) - a door that the Lord puts in our lives to grow closer to Him.
Can I always figure out what my daughter needs? No.
Does that make me a bad mom? No.
Do I deserve this little girl? No. I am worthy only of the death and suffering of Jesus Christ but praise Him! He paid that debt so YES! Kadence is my daughter - part of His love and grace being being showered upon me. He put her in my life for His glory.
Am I bonded to her? Yes, yes, yes.
(Please note that there are far more knots to undo, more lies that run very deep in me. I feel as though I have this life giving artery that has a foothold of darkness dumping poison (lies) into it but the Lord has graciously given me enough light to see what I need for this part of the journey. This will be one of my weaknesses that prove His grace is sufficient and His power is perfect in my weakness. This will continue to draw me closer to Jesus. )
Will I continue to fall? Yes. But what a gracious, merciful and loving God to serve that His arms are always open - that He would reach down and pick you up.
On grace and forgiveness . . .
After the night of the flying book, Daniel was the first to come to me and apologize. He was the first to show grace, as my pride was still a stumbling block for me. It wasn't until that morning that I noticed the wound I had inflicted on my husband. Ouch! Visible evidence of my wretchedness! We have repented, forgiven and are reconciled - thank the Lord for that! In confiding this to friends and family - they have been gracious and met us in this with humor and the love of the Lord.
Although we still haven't figured out this nap thing with Kadence, I am resting in Jesus all the way. He is the way, the truth and the life.